One March we took a walk up Peak Hill where you can really appreciate the bright swathes of cheerful daffodils that herald the arrival of Spring in the Sid Valley. On our way up the hill we took advantage of one of the many benches to stop and catch our breath and admire the views across the drifts of yellow daffs to the town and coastline beyond.

The story behind the bulbs

Multi-millionaire Keith Owen loved Sidmouth so much that he was planning to retire here. However, sadly, in 2007 he discovered he had terminal lung cancer. With only weeks to live he bequeathed £2.3 million to the town. His instructions were to leave the capital untouched but spend the interest on projects to brighten up Sidmouth as well as neighbouring Sidford and Sidbury.

Keith said ‘think big, plant a million bulbs! Get everyone involved!’

Local people swung into action with the aim of creating the ‘valley of a million bulbs’. Over the last few years the Sid Vale Association has coordinated over 300 individuals of all ages and more than 50 groups, including local schools, in planting hundreds of thousands of daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and bluebells around the town. Every spring more and more bulbs burst into colour bringing Keith’s vision to life.

Photo: Daffodils on Peak Hill

Daffodils on Peak Hill

Photo: spring bulbs flowering on the Byes

Spring bulbs flowering on the Byes

Find out more

The Sid Vale Association website has more information on Keith Owen’s bequest and the ongoing bulb planting projects in the Sid Valley.




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